Amihan Surf and Skim Team

May 25, 2013

For a non-swimmer like me, the big waves of Dahican, Mati Oriental sound and look furious. Ironically, every time I visit the place, I enjoy the fright. I feel that the tiny voice mocking the weakling in me is the same voice that dares myself to stand on a surfboard. At some point in the future. At least once before I die.

Amihan Surf and Skim Team
Skimboarding at sunrise
My unvoiced struggle for bravery is the reason why I give the Amihan Surf and Skim Team two thumbs up. Most of them have suntanned skinned, unkempt, sun-bleached hair, and leg scars, but none of these matter when you see a sharp-eyed skimboarder observing the sea, running towards the perfect wave, and gliding with it as it breaks. None of these matter when you see a surfer expertly teaching a newbie how to paddle, stand and balance on a surfboard. All you notice are their six pack abs and the years of discipline that formed the muscles.  The group apparently tells me that

beauty goes beyond the body,

 water, wind and man make a great combination,

engaging into a water sport is an effective bait to attract girls,

Amihan Surf and Skim Team
and I can never outshine a skimboarder's jump shot.

I fortunately got acquainted with the Amihan Surf and Skim Team because of Jen, a friend who frequents the seven-kilometer Dahican beach. She introduced us to the team, and we came to know them  personally. I have deep respect for the team’s coach, George “Kuya Jun” Plaza for having instilled the values of teamwork, humility and customer service among the boys for nine years. He’s like a real father to them, always looking after the welfare of the kids and never hitting the hay when one isn’t back in their quarters, yet.

Amihan Surf and Skim Team
Kuya Jun with a student
Despite their limited resources, Kuya Jun grooms them to become self-made people through the value of discipline. All team members have their respective tasks – from cooking to collecting tent pitching fees. Before sunrise, you can see the younger members picking up seaside trash to preserve nature’s beauty. What impresses me most is their no-drinking and no-smoking policy. Kuya Jun believes it’s not a good example for little kids nor a healthy habit for an athlete. Anyone who violates the policy is warned and in some cases, expelled from the group.

Amihan Surf and Skim Team
Bayogyog performing a stunt in June 2012
This way of life must have worked well for the team because they have made a name in surfing and skimboarding not only at the local level. Sony Boy “Bayogyog” Aporbo bagged the first prize in Malaysia and Hongkong international skimboarding competitions, making him the most popular and photographed member in the group. If you spend a day or two with the Amihan Surf and Skim Team, you can conclude that his winning stunts and graceful moves truly deserve the award. He has proven that with passion and determination, dreams won’t come true in your sleep.

Alantoy with his handsewn hammock
During our first conversation with Winston “Alantoy” Plaza, another member of the Amihan Surf and Skim Team, he said that if he hadn’t quit his job at Grand Regal Hotel, he wouldn’t have discovered what his real potentials are. Because he chose to follow his heart, he feels happy surfing, skimming, swimming, paddling and hand-sewing cool hammocks at the beach. And because he’s good at what he does, he came second in the stand-up paddle board race in Malaysia in 2012.  His career shift brought him to places and brought him back home.

Dahican Beach
Dahican turquoise beach on a sunny, calm day
I personally think it's the Amihan Surf and Skim Team who gives life to Dahican beach. I'm so happy to see locals playing with the waves anytime of the day and year.

There is art in skimboarding, indeed!
I’m positive that we are still going back to Dahican in the future. Perhaps for a week or a month, it would all depend on our work schedule. Hopefully when I go back, I can muster up my courage to give surfing a try, or at least take a picture of Dan doing it.

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